Started in 1976, Tree City USA is one of the Arbor Day Foundation's oldest programs. The founders had a vision for a greener, healthier America with the hope this initiative would inspire change at a national level.
The first Tree City USA cohort was comprised of 42 communities in 16 states. Today, the program includes more than 3,600 communities from all 50 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. The city of St. Joseph is a Tree City USA community.
To be a Tree City USA community, the following standards must be met:
Maintaining a tree board
Having a community tree ordinance
Spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry
Celebrate Arbor Day
A thriving urban forest offers many advantages to communities including:
Trees help absorb traffic sounds in urban areas by 40%.
Neighborhoods with trees are seven to nine degrees cooler.
Trees reduce energy costs up to 25% by shading buildings and protecting them from winter winds.
Homes with trees have higher property values.
Green space plays a major role in improving mental and physical health.
Planting and maintaining trees absorbs carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, mitigating the effects of climate change.